Thanks to a grant from the Not One More Foundation, the billboard has been renewed for two more months with new a campaign inspired by Pittsburgh’s I Ride A Bike campaign.
Kolby Granville, Tempe City Councilmember and bicycle advocate, kicks off the series. We’re working to book other well known public figures with a goal of doing a series of three people over two months. We also hope to refine the presentation as we go.
The campaign is designed to humanize cyclists. Motorists should be aware that people on bicycles are, like anyone else, pillars of community, members of families, workers, auto owners, and so on, just like anyone else. We hope that some empathy encourages people to take care and save a life.
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There’s so much to do on a bike this weekend, you just might not have time to work on that stamp collection or weed the garden. Aside from the dozens of road and mountain bike rides sure to be out in the Valley, two brand-spanking new events are hitting the streets in Tempe.
It starts off with a bang on Friday night with the first ever Arizona Bike Party, a roving bike ride that starts at Tempe Beach Park and heads off into the night with stops at public spaces to provide opportunities for people to socialize, chat, dance, and maybe even solve the world’s problems…who knows! Ride meets at 7, departs Beach Park at 8 and repeats monthly.
The second inaugural event is the Science Sundays Bike Ride. This is an opportunity to spend the afternoon with a local expert and learn something about the natural sciences right in your own backyard. The ride starts at Bike Cellar in the Tempe Transit Center at 2pm. Scott Nowicki, a geology professor and TBAG legend, will lead the ride around sites in North Tempe to investigate the geologic history of the region. The ride will occur every other Sunday with different guides and disciplines every time. Hooray science!
Remember to keep checking the TBAG calendar for more random bike events.
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Two months ago, Becker Boards sent us photos of our brand new billboard. I had to go see it for myself to make sure it wasn’t a rouse, but sure enough, a 14 foot high, 48 foot wide billboard was talking about bikes. The photos got posted on Facebook and were an instant hit with our followers.
The ad was inspired by one LA Metro did. It struck a chord here. Clearing up confusion about whether bicycles are allowed to be on the road (yes!) seemed important.
And create dialogue it did. Suddenly people — and news outlets — wanted to talk to us about it. One hectic week, we had three interview requests we were scrambling to cover. We talked to two different TV networks, one twice, a morning news radio station, and a major local newspaper.
People interested in bikes in Tempe are finding us. These last two months, the ranks of people following us swelled by 25%. I thank you for joining us and hope we’re able to provide you with some delicious cycling community. Community is important.
Last week, long time TBAGers Jeremy Deatherage and Scott Nowicki organized a photoshoot at Tempe Beach Park for a possible new billboard design. We’re grateful for the dialog created by this one, but we have a lot we want to say, and our Awareness Committee latched on to a very simple message. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but the goal is simply to make Tempe residents feel good about living in a bike town. We want to show cycling in Tempe as a friendly, welcoming, and pleasant part of Tempe.
We talk about our board, the Special Projects Unit, the Awareness Committee, and so on, but really we’re just a bunch of people who like riding bikes who meet over beer to work together on all of our ideas. Awareness, Special Projects, and Advocacy are mostly made up of interested members of the community. If you aren’t already on the Volunteers list, please click “update subscription preferences” on the bottom of this email (or click “Join Us” at the top if you’re viewing this on our site) and you’ll get the meeting announcements. Click Advocacy too — Tempe can’t say that there isn’t a cyclist community when we all show up to a public meeting wearing helmets. Thank you for riding your bike!
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Sundown, Wed the 4th, Mark Eastwood led a group of four riders out to hand out bike lights to riders in need. He wrote this about the affair:
There were 4 of us, Sue, Tim, and Mike. Since there were so many people out we focused on the area between Hardy, University, Rio Salado and College.
Sue had already brought 20 sets of lights from the locker and I picked up between 10 and 20 more just before we took off. We ended up passing all of them out to quite a varied group of people. It is funny having people tell you they don’t need a light when it’s dark and they obviously don’t have one on their bike.
Thanks Mark and company!
Do you want to help make cyclists safer and reach out to new cyclists at the same time? Update your email preferences at www.biketempe.org/join-us/update-your-tbag-contact-info/ and specify “volunteer opportunities” and we’ll announce future Ninja Lights Nights so you can join the party!
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TBAG is one of the recipients of funds raised each year by New Belgium’s Tour de Fat, but it takes people to get bicycle advocacy done, not just money. That’s why we have a grants program. In the past, we’ve paid grants to the Bicus Bicycle Co-op in Tucson, the Rusty Spoke Bicycle Co-op, Karma Racer, WeCycle, and various other awesome organizations. Most recently, we pledged money to help get PHX Bike Labs going in their new space.
We also do small grants. Do you have an idea for making bicycling better, or a project to spread the word? Write up your plan in 1-2 pages and mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org (cc’ing email@example.com won’t hurt either). If you can attend one of our meetings and introduce your idea in 3 minutes, we’d love to meet you.
We can’t do everything ourselves — not even close! But we can help enable you to.
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Tempe Bicycle Action Group’s new Bike Racks program has been a hit with businesses. We approached Cornish Pasty in Tempe, Tops Liquors (home of Taste of Tops), Cartel Coffee Labs, and Handlebar, and no one said they didn’t want a bike rack. The deal is that we get well made but inexpensive racks at our cost, and deliver and install them for next to nothing.
After the initial success of this project, we’re ready to move on to Phase II: Install Racks Everywhere. We need your help. Do you have a favorite business that just does not have a good bike rack, or needs more racks? TBAG can help. Talk to the owner and ask him or her to let us help them get a rack installed. Set up a meeting and firstname.lastname@example.org will get you someone else in TBAG to go to the meeting with you so you aren’t alone.
We also need people to go to these (and other locations) to offer our services:
- Filmbar in Phoenix
- Solo Cafe
- Long Wongs on Apache
- Oreganos on Mill
- Flavor on Mill
- The Vine
- Crescent Ballroom
http://azcrap.org/racks_pamphlet.pdf has program details. You can print that out and show it to business owners. Want to help with Phase II? Email me.
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Posted by S W in Advocacy
I got up at 6am so I could make it to the Pascua Yaqui Justice Center, south west of Tucson, at 9. Two hours at 75mph on the old Nighthawk at that hour of the morning was a lot. I showed up tired, wind blown, a bit shaky, and my stomach upset from having fed naught but coffee, but with four minutes to spare before people started settling in.
Two meetings were being held: a general meeting, and a meeting for the 5 Year Plan. I filled out a yellow card to speak during the 5 Year Plan portion of the meeting then staked out a seat in the front row. In the front of the small auditorium, about 8 or 10 people sat behind tables. Their names and positions (board member, directory, and so forth) were old style wooden widgets like people used to all have on their desks. They talked among themselves, thanking their hosts, the Pascua Yaqui tribe, for their hospitality and thanked them for the accommodations.
The comment portion of the 5 Year Plan meeting happened second. I had made some notes the night before of what I wanted to say, but I rewrote them while I waited to be called. There were no shortage of speakers. Owners of construction companies stood up and spoke in their three piece suits. A board member from the Nogales Tourist Association spoke. A mayor from a local small city spoke; then it was the director of a regional airport, a representative of Southwest Gas, someone from an association of local businesses, PAG (Pima Association of Governments, the regional organization that handles efforts such as public transit that span cities) had their interium director there. A Mexican consulate spoke about the importance of ground transportation between the US and Mexico, and about how our manufacturing is now so intertwined that goods cross the boarder multiple times before being assembled into a finished project. There were others.
Some people asked for help with specific dangerous intersections that have had a lot of accidents. Many, such as the mayor and construction companies, had no particular agenda except to re-affirm their ongoing working relationship with ADOT, and were essentially saying “hello, good to see you”.
I was called, so I stood up, walked over, said good morning to the board and chairman, introduce myself as Scott Walters, with Tempe Bicycle Action Group, and said, approximately: We work closely with the City of Tempe and with the Maricopa Association of Governments, for example conducting the Tempe Bike Count and helping with Bike to Work Day. Last year in the Bike Count, we counted 28 locations, for 4 hours, and tallied near 7,000 cyclists. I’m here to ask for alternatives to highways, such as light rail and bike paths. Young professionals increasingly want to live near city centers, not in suburbs, and to spend their money on entertainment, not on car ownership. Safety is the number one reason people don’t ride bikes. Often roads have 45mph limits with no other way through. Many people ride anyway, and often the wrong way, or on the sidewalk, which are more dangerous for cyclists. By DOTs statistics, there was a drop from 37,000 to 32,000 road fatalities from 2008 to 2011, but pedestrian and cyclist deaths rose from 12% to 16% of those fatalities. Please include bicycles and pedestrians in the 5 Year Plan. Thank you for your time and attention.
And then I sat down again, and other people continued to speak. In all, these three minute addresses to the board amounted to an hour.
After the public comments period, the 5 Year Plan meeting was had. It was a meeting conducted entirely for the benefit of the observing public. None of the ADOT staff or board present made any motions or reported anything new to each other, but there was still some formality, with the chief engineer re-presenting the three alternative plans (A, B, and C) and giving background on them.
ADOT is facing a budget reduction from 2.6 billion to 1.9 billion. As part of dealing with that, the engineering staff was asked to prepare three different plans, one maximizing new development, one maximizing maintenance, and another serving as a compromise. The road projects considered are various highway corridors and connections, highway on ramps, bridge work, and so forth.
1.9 billion sounds like a lot of money, but ADOT, like state transportation departments across the country, has worked year after year to expand the road network, and in doing so has created a serious maintenance obligation. Being able to do new development in the next five years amounts to neglecting maintenance in the hopes that there is a surplus later to catch it up.
The meeting started with a presentation as a sort of report by the chief engineer, with pretty graphs of funds allocation, maps of projects, and background on the projects. The two projects being carried forward are ones that primarily have money coming from external sources. Then the board talked about things amongst themselves for the benefit of the audience.
Arizona is a rare state that does not fund road projects with gas taxes. Reportedly, each cent of gas tax would give them another 30 million dollars a year. I strongly suspect that you could make some friends in ADOT if you become a major advocate for the gas tax.
Here are some quotes from the 5 Year Plan meeting:
We really do want comments – we’d like you to encourage your friends to file formal comments – Scott, the lead traffic engineer
Thank you all for being respectful concerning the budget shortfall when making comments.
In the past, 76% [of the budget] was spent on expansion.
Approximately 600 comments were filed. 300 of them spoke in support of alternate transportation. 300 spoke in support of Plan A, B, or C.
Your input is very import to us and does affect how transportation funds are spent. – Chairman Victor Flores. [This was spoken very earnestly, almost as a plea, as if the audience possessed a voice of reason that would spare him from a consuming madness.]
A lot of these organizations want to be at the table but in my opinion, they need to take the lead. We’re viewed skeptically. – Council Member Joe La Rue [I knew it!]
ADOT cannot make these decisions alone. Economic development is a wise place to put money. – Board Member John S Halikowski
Individual contribution [to roadways] comes to about $288 a year. – Board Member Joe La Rue.
People who spoke here today – you’ve got to get fired up! – Joe La Rue
That’s it for the direct quotes.
I think I learned a lot about how politics works today, and the stereotype is wrong. The more people I meet working in the city, state, and in organizations like MAG, the more I realize that these guys are trying really, really hard to do a good job, and they want help and friends as badly as we do.
Then, a reporter from KVOA snuck up to the front row and asked for an interview, so, hey, maybe I’m on TV in Tucson.
I’d like to make the Flagstaff meeting on May 10 as well. It seems fitting that I would go to Tucson to talk about Tempe and then go to Flagstaff to talk about Tucson. I want to stand up for my three minutes and tell the ADOT board and engineers about how my friends and I rode our bikes all over southern Arizona over and over again, and then went to France to do a long distance ride with people from all over the country. I want to thank them for re-paving Mission road, and tell them how, prior to that, we had decided that it was maintained by the Beirut Road Department, and they would teaspoon asphalt into the craters every day after using it for shelling practice. Arizona is also full of wonderful roads with great shoulders. It seems fitting that since I got to know them a lot better, they should get to know some of their friends from TBAG a lot better. TBAG, and people on bikes in Arizona aren’t just me, though. If you’d like to join me in thanking the people working for us and make some friends, please go to http://www.biketempe.org/join-us/update-your-tbag-contact-info/ and get registered for advocacy alerts.
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Posted by S W in Newsletter
That was amazing. Neighbors, commuters, retirees, students, cycling
enthusiasts from other cities, and one city council member joined
forces to do real work to make Tempe a more safe, friendly place.
A lot is happening in Tempe right now. Tempe in ten years is going to
look very different. University Drive from Ash to Priest is being
redone, largely in response to influence from the surrounding
(the design has changed since then). Likewise, Broadway, http://www.tempe.gov/index.aspx?page=492, and Hardy are
set for renovations. The city is looking into executing plans to put
in an overpass over I-10 connecting Tempe to south Phoenix.
Currently, bicycles must ride on Southern to make the trip.
We’re interested in seeing how new and improved infrastructure affects
cycling. We expect to learn a lot next year about the impact it has
on cycling volume and habits.
Every one of the 56 intersections were selected for some reason and helps us tell something — how much people are riding under some condition, the degree that they don’t ride in other conditions, the degree that they don’t or can’t ride safely under different conditions, and much more. Some give us raw numbers and help us track trends.
In a fit of optimism, we added a new count site this year — University and McClintock. Something happened this year that almost, but never quite happened last year — volunteers picked up all of the assignments. Previously, we had to decide which handful we’d have to do without. More people turned out to help. I want to continue this trend. Thank you very much to those of you who took two, three, or even four or more count shifts to make this happen. One of the best things that could happen is for this to continue to grow so that we don’t over tax our volunteers.
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The City of Tempe and the Maricopa Association of Governments aren’t just big scary governmental organizations. They’re made of real people, and a lot of them are really cool people, and a lot of them ride bikes. They want the same things we do, and we can help them by showing up to meetings and politely, briefly voicing support. Really, all you have to say is, “This is great! Please do this.”
Tempe has a lot of projects going on to add and improve bike infrastructure. MAG is getting ready to do a bike count of their own, city wide, and they’re also asking for feedback on their designs for how to make cities bike/ped friendly.
These are the meetings TBAG plans to have an attendance at. If you go, you won’t be alone. Besides TBAG, Phoenix Spokes People (formerly DBAG/PBAG) will be there.
April 11 – MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) – Designing Transit Accessible Communities Study Feedback“The Maricopa Association of Governments is requesting your input on the Designing Transit Accessible Communities Study. The intent of the study is to encourage planning practices that improve bicycling and pedestrian access from neighborhoods to transit service”Meetings like this where you can go and give positive feedback (and say thank you for doing this, this is exactly what we want) are great.April 12 – ADOT general plan meeting in TucsonEncourage ADOT to use funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects, not just more traffic lanes. The City of Tempe and MAG are forward thinking and support bicycle projects, but ADOT controls how most transportation money is spent, and they aren’t hearing from cyclists, only motorists. We need cyclists to stand up and say simple, obvious (to us) things such as “I ride my bike to work. Bike lanes are transportation for me.”Jun 18 – MAG Bike & Ped Committee — MAG Bike Count Meeting Their bike/ped count consultants are presenting count tech recommendations and locations. Unlike our Bike Count, they’re spreading their resources across the metro area. This is mostly of interest to the people who organize the bike count and do stats for it. 302 N 1st St Suite 300, Phoenix, 2nd floor, 1:30pm
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The Livable Cities Coalition meetings are easy to go to. They’re full of like minded individuals working on really cool things, and working together.
Last month, the lady who worked for Governor Napolitano and Governor Brewer to head up the head up the light rail project from that side talked about a non-profit she founded to finance development along the rail line unwritten with grant money. Many of the developments along the rail line are financed by her organization.
This month, one of the members of a committee with grant money from the Pew Charitable Trust/Robert Wood Johnson Health Impact Assessment Grant talked about how she got grants to do “health impact assessments”. Health impact assessments quantify cost impacts on health made transportation decisions. For example, public transportation and cycling infrastructure have a strong positive impact on public health by promoting walking and recumbent riding. Cities looking at costs of things can consider public health costs related to transportation decisions. This work provides them with that data. I talked to her about possibly including some of this data in our Bike Count Report for 2013′s Bike Count.
Tucson (if I got this straight, there was a lot of talk about Flagstaff, too) is doing BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). They drove a new hybrid bus around to neighborhoods, set up shop there, had people come and check it out, and had them fill out an online survey from terminals set up in the bus. They got 11,000 survey responses, overwhelmingly positive, in favor of the BRT. Public transit options reduce traffic congestion and help car-free cyclists with many of the times they would otherwise need to use a car.
Doug Hirano, the Executive Director of Asian Pacific Communities in Action talked about his organization and its goal of empowering and serving the Asian and Pacific communities in the Phoenix metro area. They’re providing health services, translation services, and are looking into outdoor gym equipment, which reportedly has wide adoption in several Asian countries (including Australia, I think). I talked to him about the impact Bicycle Saviours has in Tempe.
The presentations are fantastic, but the table talk is also excellent. AZPIRG’s outreach coordinator made it to the meeting again and we talked about ADOT meetings coming up and the topics being discussed at them. MAG is trying to extend the rail lines, and there’s some debate between street cars versus running the light rail trains on roads shared with cars in places where roads cannot be widened to accommodate the train. Gene from Phoenix Spokes People (formerly DBAG, formerly PBAG) was there both times I was. They’re doing a good job of making it to meetings and sharing the cyclist’s perspective with policy makers.
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